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Another way to learn

I love YouTube.

I'm in the Halftime Band at church, and many of the songs we sing I am not familiar with. So, I have to try to get up to speed on them very quickly.

To do so, I go to YouTube, enter the song name, and listen and/or play along. This certainly helps me develop an ear for the music, even if what we finally do with a tune is not exactly what you would find on the video.

Just recently, I bought a ukelele, and, again, I am turning to YouTube for help. I've already learned several songs by watching Ukelenny over and over again.

So, I can vouch for the fact that if you're trying to learn some music, YouTube can be your friend.

Just this week, the library added Mango language instruction to our website. Our hope is that our patrons can go to Mango and, as with YouTube videos, learn another language over time.

This kind of instructional approach certainly can't hurt.

Impressed ... or not

I read yesterday about a pre-teen girl who asked people to donate money to her local library instead of giving her a birthday present.

Wow, I thought, what a great kid!

But, then I read a little deeper into the story.

And it said she wanted the donations to go to the library in her name so she could get her name on a brass plaque.

Meh.

Lots of toddlers

Our Toddler Time on Monday mornings seems to be a big hit with joms and kids alike.

But, it's not growing like the similar program in the New York City public libraries.

Sage Lazzaro and Esti Jungreis write in The New York Observer that Toddler Times attracted 250,000 participants last year. In the first quarter of this year, the number has already hit 190,000!

Some parents are arriving as much as an hour early to participate.

Sounds as if the libraries need to add some other times for toddlers.

This past Monday, we had about 25 moms, dads and kiddoes. Earlier this month, we had 35.

Those are pretty healthy numbers for a library our size. Thirty-five has us bursting at the seams.

Thanks to 18+

Today was the last day for this year's 18+ young people to come to the library to help us out.

Leslie Williams is in charge of this great program, offered by the Wimberley school system.

Every Tuesday since last fall, Leslie has brought Naomi, Justin, Chance and Sage to the library to shelve books and DVDs and to help clean the place up. Everyone is always in a great mood and wonderful to be around.

Thanks, Leslie and kids!

STEM and diversity

I read more and more laments lately about how few women and people of color are going into STEM fields. So much evidence has been compiled, I believe that we have a problem.

And it's a problem that can be solved right about in the same place where the Apollo 13 problem was solved. That's right: Houston.

Yesterday I attended the ceremonies marking my daughter's graduation from the University of Houston Clear Lake, which is just around the bend from Space Center Houston.

About 280 people graduated, and I'd say about half of them were getting degrees in computer science. Another half of those were getting master's degrees in computer science.

I did not do a count, but I would say that of all those 140 or so graduates, about half were women and fully 75 percent were people of color -- Hipanics, Indians, Pakistanis, African-Americans. It was truly gratifying to see.

I'm sure the picture was not the same at the Texas A&M graduation ceremonies and probably even the University of Texas ceremonies. Both universities are way too white and male.